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Crucial Congress meet underway to discuss party elections, presidential polls

Party chief Sonia Gandhi is chairing the meet which is likely to give the “ex-post facto” approval to the organisational polls

india Updated: Jun 06, 2017 13:13 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi will  attend the crucial CWC meeting on Tuesday.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi will attend the crucial CWC meeting on Tuesday. (HT File photo )

The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision-making body, is meeting on Tuesday to ratify the schedule for its organisational elections.

Congress sources said party chief Sonia Gandhi is chairing the meeting that is also expected to discuss the upcoming presidential polls. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was also present.

For its part, the Congress is trying to unite the opposition parties not only for the presidential elections but also to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The CWC is likely to give the “ex-post facto” approval to the organisational polls, a requirement under the Congress constitution.

Some states, including Uttarakhand and Assam, have also demanded creation of additional organisational units and the CWC is likely to give sanction to the move. As per the election commission deadline, the main opposition party has to complete its internal polls by December 31 this year.

The meeting comes seven months after the CWC had on November 7 last year unanimously appealed to Rahul Gandhi to take over the reins of the grand old party. As many as 32 CWC members requested 46-year-old Gandhi, who was appointed vice-president at the party’s Jaipur chintan shivir or brainstorming session in January 2013, to assume the top post. Rahul Gandhi had presided over the gathering in absence of Sonia Gandhi who skipped the meet because of ill health.

As per the fresh poll schedule circulated by the party’s central election authority to all the state units and office bearers, the elections for the post of the Congress president will take place between September 16 and October 15.

Once the party chief is chosen, it will be followed by the elections to the CWC at the plenary session in November-December. According to the Congress constitution, 12 of the 25-member CWC have to be elected by All India Congress Committee (AICC) members, and the rest are appointed by the party president.

The fresh poll schedule has been divided into five phases. While the first stage comprising enrollment of new members will end on August 20, the second phase of polls to elect block presidents will conclude on September 4. The third segment ending on September 15 will witness the elections to district presidents followed by state chiefs in the fourth phase from September 16 to October 15.

The plenary session will mark the completion of the fifth and final phase of the organisational elections.